In a region where low-income families struggle to find high-quality preschool options for their children, EASTCONN has some good news.
EASTCONN’s Head Start/Early Head Start programs now have more slots available for preschool children in northeastern Connecticut.
EASTCONN has opened a new Head Start site for 16 children in Plainfield’s Moosup Gardens housing complex, as well as a new home-based Head Start program for 16 youngsters in Tolland County. Both sites are recruiting 3-to-5-year-olds now.
In addition, EASTCONN has recently opened three new Head Start/Early Head Start classrooms in EASTCONN’s Northeast Learning Center facility in Danielson, where parents can take advantage of EASTCONN’s Two-Generational (2Gen) program. After parents drop off their children at the Danielson Head Start/Early Head Start classrooms, they can walk next door to participate in EASTCONN’S 2Gen Adult Education classes, where they can earn a high school diploma, improve their English, learn new job skills, or get employment assistance.
Meanwhile, their children are safe, happy and participating in an enriching, EASTCONN-run Head Start/Early Head Start education program.
And it’s free.
“It’s a win-win for income-eligible families who reside in the Danielson, Moosup and Tolland County region,” said Anne Sousa, EASTCONN’s Assistant Director of Early Childhood Services.
“In the EASTCONN region, which stretches across northeastern Tolland and Windham counties, there is a shortage of state or federally funded first-rate preschool programs, which help prepare 3-to-5-year-olds for kindergarten,” Sousa said. “Our Head Start/Early Head Start programs support the whole family, build children’s school readiness skills and provide lots of important services for their families.”
EASTCONN staff make referrals for Birth-to-Three services and to school districts. They also ensure that youngsters have a dental home, and connect families with housing, energy and food assistance, adult education programming and other stabilizing resouces.
“Both our site-based and home-based preschool programs concentrate on supporting the whole child and family, and one of our goals is to help not only small children, but also multiple generations in individual families,” Sousa said. “Throughout our early care preschool programs, we help children develop cognitive flexibility, memory recall, social skills, persistence to a task and ability to self-regulate – all the things that promote successful lifelong learning. Children with high executive function skills do better in school and in life. And so do adults.”
EASTCONN’s new home-based Head Start program in Tolland County brings an early childhood specialist into the homes of participants each week for 1.5 hours. While visiting each home, EASTCONN staff share parenting skills, information about child development, nutrition, family and child-friendly play activities, and help parents set family and educational goals. EASTCONN home visitors also connect families with the services they need.